Kas Saed plays ostrich politics

It is rare that President Kaïs Saïed remained so long a period without interfering in public affairs. The last real presidential outing is from 1eh June, the day the dismissal of 57 judges was announced.

Since this twenty-minute speech, the President has been discreet despite the great enthusiasm in the country. If he has had activities over the last 17 days, Kaïs Saïed has deviated from his habit of giving long speeches in which he attacks and insults his opponents.

But over the past 17 days, there have been events that could have inspired the president, or at least would have required explanations from him.

Magistrates, UGTT, IMF, imprisonment of a journalist, visit of an Algerian envoy, visit of an emirate envoy, visit of the Libyan Foreign Minister, national dialogue and constitution are all topics that would normally have provoked “lyrical flights” of the President of the Republic.

Two exceptions to this two-week absence of the President, this June 3, when he visited the Olympic complex in El Menzah to claim, in front of the cameras, that“the” try to destroy it to sell its land, and this June 15, when he went to present his condolences to the Interior Minister after the death of his wife. The presidency did not refrain from publishing, after this, obscene images showing Kaïs Saïed and his wife with the minor children of Taoufik Charfeddine in a really weak situation.

The issues that mobilize public opinion are nonetheless of paramount importance.

The dismissal of the judges and the latter’s accusations against the executive and its interference would deserve a presidential clarification.

In the speech announcing their dismissal, on 1ehJune, Kaïs Saïed declared that there is no doubt that these judges are guilty of various offenses, even crimes. He cited illegal enrichment, corruption, blocking of records, etc. In response, the magistrates declared that this was not the case and that several of them were dismissed because they refused the chancellery’s orders. Some even mentioned the involvement of the president’s wife and her lawyer sister.

The entire judiciary has now observed a strike for almost fourteen days and it is likely that it will be renewed for a third week, without Kaïs Saïed withdrawing and admitting that he was wrong about the dismissed report, or in at least give them this fundamental right to appeal to restore justice.

Another stalemate in the country was the general strike, which UGTT observed on 16 June. The trade union center has not succeeded in finding common ground with the government, which rejects any serious dialogue on the commitments made by previous governments.

Kaïs Saïed, and this is fully his role, could have appeased the people and prevented the strike, especially since UGTT has claimed to be ready to cancel it. Except that no, he preferred to be silent.

In connection with this case, journalist Salah Attia at Al Jazeera confirmed that the president would have ordered the army to arrest union leaders, which she denied. This is an accusation of a real crime, since we are talking about the army’s disobedience to the army’s commander in chief. The military prosecutor’s office responded quickly, and a military investigating judge issued a warrant against the journalist. Normally, however, it is the president himself who would have reacted immediately to deny and otherwise insult “lying journalist”. Total silence from Carthage, not even a denial on the Facebook page!

The same silence was observed regarding these commitments from the Bouden government with the IMF. The President has often criticized international bodies, sometimes with harsh words (the Venice Commission), sometimes with derogatory words (rating agencies). What does he think of the program the government sent to the IMF? Is not this a policy that is the exact opposite of what he has always advocated? The president plays the ostrich perfectly and shows schizophrenia as if Najla Bouden ruled another country.

Last issue, and it is of primary importance in the eyes of the President, on the Constitution and the referendum on 25 July. How is this constitution drafted? The Tunisians are set aside and they know nothing about it. The little information filtered about its draft, they owe it to the daily newspaper Le Maghreb. Despite the controversy caused by the deletion of Article 1 of the Constitution, which concerns the religion of the state, the President did not shed light on his position.

As for the referendum, the president did not leak anything about his programs in the event that his draft constitution is rejected by the Tunisians or if the turnout turns out to be low.

Internationally, the President of the Republic has always been a specialist in pompous slogans about sovereignty and the independence of national decision-making. The last reaction goes back to May 30, when he fired red balls at the Venice Commission.

Except that he was wallowed in a deafening silence when Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune allowed himself from Rome to say his country is ready to help Tunisia return to the democratic path. It was May 26th.

On June 10, Kaïs Saïed receives a handwritten letter from his Algerian colleague delivered by Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. What is the message sent by President Tebboune? We do not know anything!

Is there a relationship with Libya, whose foreign minister, Najla Mangoush, was received the same day in Carthage? Silence and rubber ball!

Ditto on June 15 after the telephone conversation with his Emirate counterpart Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyan and this day after the visit to Carthage by an Emirate delegation led by Sheikh Chakhbout Ben Nahyan Al Nahyan Foreign Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation between the United Arab Emirates.

Kaïs Saïed has this mania for putting his foot in the dish and provoking controversy with each of his speeches.

But is his strategy of silence observed for two weeks the right one?

Whether he likes it or not, the President of the Republic must speak to Tunisians and be accountable to them. He needs to talk to them and communicate his plans to them. He must reassure them or, if that is not the case, tell them the truth.

Kaïs Saïed traces his path alone without listening and without consulting anyone. Does he think that problems and controversies will magically disappear when he buries his head in the sand?

Raouf Ben Hedi

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